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Archive for the ‘Announcements’ Category

NLM Mourns William G. Harless, PhD, Creator of the First Natural Language Computer Patient Simulation Model

William G. Harless, President and CEO of Interactive Drama Inc. and former National Library of Medicine employee and contractor, passed away this past May. Dr. Harless’ contributions to the NLM were many, including the creation of the first voice-activated interactive video patient simulation model in the mid-1980s. As Director of NLM’s Technological Innovations in Medical Education (TIME) Project, he received the 1986 NLM Regents Award for Scholarship or Technical Achievement and an award in the category of Best Educational Achievement at the University of Nebraska, both for the development of his model which combined voice recognition, interactive video, and computer technologies.

Bill Harless held a PhD degree in psychology and learning theory. He also had held faculty positions at five major universities and the Union for Experimenting Colleges and Universities, where accredited doctorate degrees are awarded from a multidisciplinary, experientially based curriculum. He developed the first natural language computer patient simulation model at the University of Illinois School of Medicine in Chicago in the early 1960s. Dr. Harless published over 50 articles on natural language interactive simulation as a learning strategy and was a recognized expert in the field. In 1991, he was awarded a patent for his voice-controlled video simulation model. He was awarded a second patent in 1996 for his dynamic prompting system. In 2005, a third patent was awarded on a method of distributing his model over a computer network, and in 2010 he was awarded a patent for his method for analyzing natural language text to yield a meaningful response to a free-speech inquiry.

AIDSinfo and infoSIDA Web Sites Now Optimized for Display on Mobile Devices!

AIDSinfo and infoSIDA on mobile devices

AIDSinfo, a service of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), recently updated its AIDSinfo (English) and infoSIDA (Spanish) Web sites. They are now automatically optimized for display across all devices, including desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones. Visitors to the AIDSinfo and infoSIDA Web sites will now be able to access all of the content on any device they are using. AIDSinfo offers access to the latest, federally approved HIV/AIDS medical practice guidelines, HIV treatment and prevention clinical trials, and other research information for health care providers, researchers, people affected by HIV/AIDS, and the general public.

NLM decided to create a responsive design Web site, a site that automatically adjusts to any device, because of a shift in the ways that people are accessing the Internet. Between 2010 and 2014, mobile traffic to the AIDSinfo Web site increased tenfold, and almost 90% of health care providers surveyed on the AIDSinfo Web site have Internet access at the point of care, and of those, more than two-thirds use a mobile device when seeing patients. With this redesign, health care providers, researchers, people with HIV/AIDS, their family and friends, and anyone who visits the Web site will now be able to access the HIV/AIDS medical practice guidelines, drug database, fact sheets, clinical trials search, HIV/AIDS glossary, and all of the other features in an easy-to-navigate format no matter what device they are using.

If you have saved the mobile site URLs (http://m.aidsinfo.nih.gov/ and http://m.infosida.nih.gov/) as a Bookmark or Favorite on your tablet or smartphone, you will be automatically redirected to the responsive design Web site. Please send your questions or feedback about the responsive design Web site to: ContactUs@aidsinfo.nih.gov.

NIH Disaster Research Response Project Workshop June 12-13 in Bethesda

Disaster Research Response Workshop: Enabling Public Health Research During Disasters will be held June 12-13, 2014, at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus in Bethesda, MD. There is no registration cost. This workshop will examine strategies and partnerships for methodologically and ethically sound public health and medical research during future emergencies. Discussions will include issues with obtaining informed consent, obtaining approval from Institutional Review Boards, coordinating research efforts with emergency response, and ensuring timely collection of data. The workshop is a collaboration of the NIH Disaster Research Response Project, the IOM Forum on Medical and Public Health Preparedness for Catastrophic Events, the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The NIH Disaster Research Response Project is a pilot project led by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and supported by the National Library of Medicine (NLM), aimed at developing ready-to-go research data collection tools and a network of trained research responders. The project’s goal is to make it as easy as possible for researchers to begin collecting health and other data following a major disaster. The focus is on data collection tools and protocols, the creation of networks of health experts also trained as research responders, and integration of the effort into federal response plans for future disasters. Although initially focused on environmental health issues, the hope is this project will be a model for timely collection of data supporting a range of medical and public health research.

As part of this project, NIEHS recently held a tabletop exercise in Long Beach, CA, to test how a “research response” might work and what would be expected of researchers choosing to be trained research responders, i.e. first on the scene to begin collecting data once it is safe and reasonable to do so. The article “Tsunami exercise helps prepare research community for disaster response” describes the exercise and there is also a video. The “Disaster Lit” section of the Resource Guide for Disaster Medicine and Public Health (from NLM) now includes records for research tools, such as online surveys and interview scripts, to aid researchers in quickly selecting appropriate measures.

NLM to Update MEDLINE/PubMed Daily!

Beginning June 2, 2014, the National Library of Medicine will add new and updated citations to PubMed seven days a week. Daily updating is a welcome enhancement to PubMed. Prior to this change, NLM updated PubMed five times a week on Tuesday through Saturday.

Likewise, new MEDLINE/PubMed update files for NLM data licensees will appear on the ftp server daily by noon ET. More than one update file may become available on the same day. The update files are available all hours seven days per week throughout the year.

For more information, visit the NLM Technical Bulletin.

2014 HIV/AIDS Community Information Outreach Projects Solicitation Released!

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has announced the solicitation of proposals for the 2014 HIV/AIDS Community Information Outreach Projects, from organizations and libraries to design and conduct projects that will improve access to HIV/AIDS related health information for patients, the affected community, and their caregivers. Awards are offered for up to $40,000. Quotations are due to NLM on Friday, July 11, 2014!

The solicitation for the 2014 HIV/AIDS Community Information Outreach Projects is posted on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site. Small Businesses can apply to a specific set-aside. The Federal Business Opportunities Web site will also list all notices, updates, and modifications to the Solicitation.

Projects must involve one or more of the following information access categories: information retrieval; skills development, resource development; and/or equipment acquisition. Emphasis will be placed upon the following types of organizations or arrangements for developing these programs: community-based organizations (CBOs) or patient advocacy groups currently providing HIV/AIDS-related services to the affected community; public libraries serving communities in the provision of HIV/AIDS-related information and resources; health departments or other local, municipal, or state agencies working to improve public health; faith-based organizations currently providing HIV/AIDS-related services; and/or multi-type consortia of the above-listed organizations that may be in existence or formed specifically for this project.

The NLM primary point of contact for the solicitation is Elena Leon, Contract Specialist, and the secondary point of contact is Robin Hope, Contracting Officer.

MLA Theater Presentations Available!

The NLM theater presentation recordings are available from the NLM Web site and have been announced in the NLM Technical Bulletin. The Technical Bulletin article lists the topics. Besides the usual PubMed Update, there are The ACA, Hospital Community Benefit and Needs Assessment: NLM Resources and NLM Resources Used in Disasters. The recordings are also available from the NLM Distance Education Resources page.

Lori Tagawa and Kay Deeney were available for the Using the ClinicalTrials.gov Results Database presentation because the speaker hadn’t been able to attend MLA. We answered questions from the audience!

New Web Site for National Library of Medicine’s TOXMAP!

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) Specialized Information Services (SIS) has released a new TOXMAP Web site. The new TOXMAP links to the beta version of the new Flash-based TOXMAP, and to the previous version of TOXMAP, renamed TOXMAP classic. It also has a refreshed FAQ, News, Glossary, and video tutorials.

TOXMAP is a National Library of Medicine website that uses maps of the United States to show locations and information of toxic chemicals released by industrial facilities and declared hazardous waste sites. The data is from the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) and Superfund Program. The maps can display demographic overlays such as population density, racial/ethnic groups, age groups, income data, and health data (cancer and disease mortality).

WISER for Android 3.1 is Now Available!

NLM has just released the latest version of WISER for the Android (version 3.1) to the Google Play store. This release brings the Help Identify and Protective Distance Mapping functions to Android devices (it is already on the Windows, iOS, BlackBerry and WebWISER versions). WISER is now functionally equivalent across all platforms, so there’s greater uniformity and less of a learning curve for people using different devices.

Here’s a look at what’s new in this release:

  • WISER’s Help Identify Chemical capability is now available on the Android platform. Identify and validate an unknown chemical based on the following criteria:
    • physical properties of the substance gathered by observation or sensors
    • signs and symptoms of victims of exposure
    • the ability to categorize a substance, such as a substance used in a meth lab or a flammable substance
    • hazard values from NFPA 704 placards
    • transportation identification, including DOT placards, type of road trailer, and type of rail car
  • Use WISER’s protective distance mapping feature on your Android device. Visualize the areas likely to be affected during the first 30 minutes after a substance is spilled or released on a live map. The Department of Transportation’s Emergency Response Guidebook serves as the source of WISER’s protective distance data.

WISER for Android can be downloaded and installed directly from the Google Play Store.

Also, look for these exciting additions in the coming months:

  • WISER for iOS and WISER for Android 4.5, which adds chemical reactivity, triage procedures, and WISER’s full set of radiological tools to these mobile platforms
  • WISER 4.6, which will add many new substances to WISER and update much of WISER’s backend data, including its HSDB (Hazardous Substances Data Bank) substance data

Preview the new NLM TOXNET interface!

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is introducing a new NLM TOXNET interface, with an improved appearance and interactive capabilities, and a facelift for a more current look and feel.

The new TOXNET features:

  • Improved appearance
  • Intuitive interactive capabilities
  • Improved multi-database search
  • Easy selection of items to save in “My List”
  • More accessible menus and pull-downs
  • Type-ahead Browse
  • Hover-over Help

The old TOXNET will continue to be available for some weeks. Please take time to explore the new interface!

NLM Announces Biomedical Informatics Course, in Partnership with Georgia Regents University!

The National Library of Medicine has announced that Georgia Regents University (GRU) will serve as the host organization for the NLM-sponsored biomedical informatics course. The NLM Biomedical Informatics Course, now entering its 22nd year, offers participants a week-long immersive experience in biomedical informatics taught by experts in the field. The course was previously held at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, MA, with Cathy Norton, MLS, as the MBL principal investigator. NLM plans to take the skills shaped over the past two decades at MBL to its new colleagues at GRU. The first course organized at Georgia Regents University will be held September 14-20, 2014, followed by an additional session April 12-18, 2015. The course will be held at a conference center at the Brasstown Resort in Young Harris, GA, at no cost to participants.

Application to the course is open to anyone, but space is limited. Preference will be given to American applicants who demonstrate, through a brief application letter, that they have the significant need for an understanding of the informatics solutions that are available to address their biomedical research, practice and education challenges and that, through their official position, they are significant “change agents” who can influence the adoption of best practices in their own environment and expand the influence of the course to others through teaching or by example. The application deadline is July 7.

The course, co-directed by James J. Cimino, MD, Chief, Laboratory for Informatics Development at the National Library of Medicine and the NIH Clinical Center, and NLM Director Donald Lindberg, MD, will guide participants through topics including biomedical informatics methods, clinical informatics, big data and imaging, genomics, consumer health informatics, mathematical modeling, and telemedicine and telehealth. The co-principal investigators from GRU are Brenda L. Seago, MLS, MA, PhD, Professor and Director of Libraries, and Kathy J. Davies, MLS, Chair, Research and Education Services, Robert B. Greenblatt, MD Library.